It’s Always Nice . . .

. . . when another state steps up to the plate and makes Texas look less stupid. In this case it’s Ohio:

Science educators have recognized that teaching science as a large compendium of facts, without reference to the scientific process and theories that bind them together, simply leads to uninterested and uninformed students. So it’s a bit mind-boggling to discover that an Ohio state legislator is attempting to block educators from teaching anything about the scientific process. And for good measure, the bill’s sponsor threw politics and creationism into the mix.

Take the process out of it and you take the critical thinking out of it and then you have students learning rote facts by memory. That doesn’t produce a very dynamic culture.


wishes to engage in a bit of “I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.”

It was a bad idea to bomb Assad and I said so last year.

Read today’s headlines and fucking weep: 

US giving Syria intelligence on jihadists, sources say

The key to successful   strategy is to always have more options than your enemy, always preserve room for maneuver, rarely, if ever, burn a bridge and never, ever use force for anything less than vital strategic national interests.

When it comes to foreign policy the entire US establishment needs to take a remedial course on “strategery.”

Right and left: idiots all.

And Stephen Walt has their measure right here:

They’d all jump at their own shadow.

A Green Desert

Crazy Rain, Fort Davis, TexasI’ve never seen Trans-Pecos Texas so green. I’m 43 years old and admittedly I’ve been coming out to the Big Bend area since my late twenties so that’s not a very good statistical sample.

Be that as it may: I’m glad that the West of Texas isn’t in hardcore drought like it has been in years passed. I’m also glad to see just about every creek and river on my route for Fort Davis in good health.

All except the Pedernales. That river is just dead. Good job Austin!

Here is a link to the Drought Monitor. It’s current for Texas. Look at the area worst hit in Central Texas.

That’s pretty much most of San Antonio’s watershed. Except we get most of our water from an underground aquifer and so we won’t see the effect of this drought for a year and we won’t see the recharge, when it comes, for a year.

The rest can be read here, complete with photos of West Texas.

The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google

The Intercept, By Ryan Gallagher, August 25

The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept.

The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies. Planning documents for ICREACH, as the search engine is called, cite the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration as key participants.
Continue reading The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google

Obama Despair

It seems like so very long ago, many of us here at The Agonist gave up on Barack Obama.  It was long ago – six years now – which is a long time considering the progress the United States could have made had Obama been the leader he promised to be.  My disillusionment was almost instantaneous, the minute he announced that the nation must look “forward and not backward” when it came to the criminal behavior of those in government who committed torture.  That was quickly followed by the surprise and disgust I felt when he appointed Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary.  Wasn’t Obama serious about reforming the banking industry and Wall Street?  He had said all the right things on the campaign trail, so why was he putting in power people who had been instrumental in causing the problem?  Sean Paul and others at The Agonist came to the same, quick, disappointment in Obama, and we all announced our sense of betrayal publicly, which was not a safe thing to do in liberal land. Continue reading Obama Despair

US ‘set to launch air strikes’ on senior Isis terror chiefs in Syria

White House will ‘take action’ against threats as Turkey comes under pressure to halt flow of jihadists across its border

The Observer, By Toby Helm & Martin Chulov, August 23

The United States was said to be considering air strikes aimed at eliminating individual leaders of Islamic State as Turkey came under mounting pressure to stem the flow of jihadists across its border into Syria.

As Washington on Saturday debated extending air strikes into Syria, senior British politicians urged Ankara to act to block recruits from the UK and other countries from entering Syria via Turkey, en route to joining Islamic State (formerly Isis). This weekend large numbers of Isis jihadists were trying to secure greater control of the border area, pushing northwards in armoured trucks looted from abandoned Iraqi military bases.
Continue reading US ‘set to launch air strikes’ on senior Isis terror chiefs in Syria

Art as metaphor. Whither the UN?

salome-john-baptist-head I wonder if outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay who gave her final speech this week to the UN Security Council would have made more impact if she had held James’ head in front of them. I’ll return to Ms Pillay below. I find I grieve for James and his family is several ways. As a fellow Catholic, as a photo-journalist unlucky twice, and as a metaphor for the ongoing senseless barbarity that never ceases.
Continue reading Art as metaphor. Whither the UN?

Jukebox: In Light Of What’s Happening

In light of the what’s happening here:
Will the Circle be Unbroken

In light of what’s happening on the border:
La Bamba – Richie Valens

In light of the return of the Cold War of 1950s
   Ain’t That A Shame
   Cry Me A River
   Shake, Rattle & Roll

Saving Yazidis, and…?

Reader Supported News

Ferguson, Gaza, and Luhansk – What Responsibility to Protect?

U.S. takes little responsibility, offers little protection

Ferguson, Gaza, and Luhansk bleed all the time these days and the United States does nothing very useful for any of them. Not in our “national interest.” Simpler and easier to blame the victims. Can’t waste our precious resources.

Ferguson, Gaza, and Luhansk have been bleeding for days, for weeks, for years, forever in current and chronic crisis, and what does the United States do to help any of them?

Faced with these and other huge humanitarian challenges, the United States puts its big-hearted humanitarian effort into a renewed war in Iraq, acting as if it was only a mission to rescue Yazidis. To be sure, it’s a good thing to rescue Yazidis, even if the true U.S. motivation is only to prop up a quasi-legitimate Iraqi government that will still only pretend to love us a little for just a few more years, while continuing to oppress its own other minorities.
Continue reading Saving Yazidis, and…?

Friday Catblogging: Agonist cats time travel!

The wish….

Continue reading Friday Catblogging: Agonist cats time travel!

Black Open Carry in Dallas

Here’s my tweet with the link to the story:

I happen to think anyone, black, white, Hindu, Cherokee, Chinese, Maori, Indigenous Australians or whomever else you can think of walking around carrying a loaded weapon out in the open in public is a fool and asking for trouble, but hey, what the fuck do I know? I’m just a dirty fucking hippie (who grew up hunting).

Quick Rundown

What’s Ferguson taught us?

The police can shoot young African-American men with impunity.

The police can pretty much do whatever they want to whomever they want whenever they want. It’s your fault. 

The militarization of police forces across the nation is almost complete.

Militarized behavior by the police is now pretty much an accepted and normalized fact of life, especially after the Boston Marathon Bomber Manhunt.

We’re passed “free-speech zones” now. Remember how quaint those were? If you’re protesting, peacefully or not, the police are going to bust you up. Furthermore, the police can raid the places where peaceful protestors gather and confiscate their supplies. Due process is not necessary.

Reporters and journalists can and will be arbitrarily detained and/or tossed in jail. This began during the BP oil spill, increased with Occupy in New York and now is intensifying in Ferguson. The police will shoot journalists in the back with bean-bags and rubber bullets even if the journalists have complied with police demands.

The airspace above the affected areas can be completely closed to the media even when there is no risk.

Have I missed anything?

How’s that freedom taste?


What we have here . . .

. . . is the epitome of bad policing. 

It’s like Gov. Nixon called Eric Cartman on the phone and said, “hey, you’re in charge of the police effort in Ferguson now.”

UPDATE: the officer in the video has been fired. 

“Begging Your Pardon, Chaps, No Blog Today”

From the Onion archives:

Pip Dawkins, 19th Century Street Urchin

“I’ve gone and eaten me very last piece of paper to stop the rumblings in me gullet,
so I’m afraid I’ve nothin’ what to write on…”

Open Thread on anything worth/not worth posting ! :-)

Wherein I Have . . .

. . . random thoughts on post-modernism.